Virgin Australia has announced three new services amid a rise in COVID-19 vaccination rates and the upcoming summer holidays.
Beginning early December, the carrier will operate round-trip services three times a week from Cairns – Gold Coast, Launceston – Gold Coast, and Hobart – Gold Coast.
The Launceston to Gold Coast route is returning to service after two decades, providing the only direct flight to and from Northern Tasmanian city.
“Virgin Australia is proud to be the first airline to connect Launceston and the Gold Coast in two decades,” said Alistair Hartley, Virgin’s chief strategy and transformation officer.
“From December up to 4,224 passengers each month can now enjoy the Gold Coast’s spectacular beaches and theme parks and visit Launceston’s lavender estate and the wine region of Tamar Valley,” Hartley added.
The three new routes will allow over 19,000 passengers to fly each month between the Gold Coast, Hobart and Launceston in response to the “growing demand” for travel, Hartley said.
From today, 12 October until midnight Friday 15 October, Virgin has announced a sale for the new routes starting from $79 one-way.
Prior to the announcement, Virgin only operated indirect flights between Launceston and the Gold Coast with one or two stops between in Melbourne and Adelaide.
Qantas operates indirect flights from the Gold Coast to Launceston plus stops in Cairns, Sydney, Canberra or Brisbane, and Jetstar operates flights with stops in Melbourne or Sydney.
“This increased connectivity into the Gold Coast is estimated to inject over $43 million into the local economy,” said Patricia O’Callaghan, Destination Gold Coast chief executive officer.
She added it is “very welcomed” after the 18 months of travel droughts across the globe and domestically due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hartley said although the “big winner” is the Gold Coast, Tasmania would also receive a boost in tourism.
“For Tasmania, never before has Virgin Australia operated to this many mainland ports from the Apple Isle,” Hartley added.
“Since September, we have announced six new routes to Tasmania, providing a significant boost to local tourism and over 28,000 additional seats each month.”
In early September, new direct flights between Launceston and Adelaide were introduced – the first between cities for over 20 years.
It was the first major domestic link for Launceston in a decade, adding 4,576 seats a month.
Along with the three new routes, Virgin also announced the resumption of its flights between Adelaide and the Sunshine Coast.
The route has been paused since April this year and is now slated to start back up again on 14 December, operating four times a week.